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San Luis High School part of in-depth study on modeling success and inspiring quality schools

Nonprofit leader KnowledgeWorks announced that San Luis High School will be part of the Robust and Equitable Measures to Inspire Quality Schools (REMIQS) project to identify practices that are most successful at creating positive outcomes for resilient and historically marginalized groups of students.

The REMIQS (pronounced “re-mix”) project will uncover and make public the school features, practices, policies and procedures where resilient and historically marginalized groups graduate from high school and succeed in postsecondary education.

“We found schools that outperform expectations and create opportunities for all students to achieve success in school and beyond,” said Eric Toshalis, EdD Senior Director of Strategic Initiatives, KnowledgeWorks. “We want to find out how they accomplish this so we can inform and inspire more schools, more educators and more leaders to adopt the approaches most likely to yield success and reduce our education debt.”

“Yuma Union High School District has the express mission of EVERY student being college, career and community prepared upon graduation. This requires intentional and strategic work of staff and relationships with the families of our students,” said Gina Thompson, Superintendent, Yuma Union High School District. “I am incredibly proud of the on-going work at San Luis High School in providing equity of opportunity in our educational system. This does not happen by accident! Our district and community collaborations continue to demonstrate actions and outcomes and the measurement of core values and belief in our students.”

With significant input from project Advisors, members of its national Stakeholder Committee— including parents, employers, college/university officials and state- and local-level policymakers—and project funders, the REMIQS team used an innovative, statistical model to identify “bright spot” schools. Researchers from KnowledgeWorks and WestEd began by analyzing state and federal data sources to locate those schools that consistently produced better-than-predicted high school and post-secondary outcomes for students from resilient and marginalized backgrounds. The statistical model, piloted by the Urban Institute and refined and updated by WestEd, prioritized the extent to which marginalized students experience in-school and post-secondary achievement levels greater than their anticipated rates. Recognizing that test scores only tell a small part of the story, the research model takes into account and prioritizes the rates at which students study advanced coursework, graduate from high school and go on to attend, persist in and complete college. It also takes into account attendance and discipline rates, along with standardized test scores.

Data collection activities will begin remotely this spring, and research teams will visit and study each site in person next fall and winter. Using a host of data sources that may include student surveys, observations, school climate data and interviews, researchers will bring to light the approaches, policies and school features that promote more equitable outcomes.

The voices and perspectives of students, especially those from resilient and marginalized groups, will take priority in this work. Youth assessments of what works in their school—and for whom—will drive REMIQS researchers’ conclusions about which are the best practices worth sharing and scaling. Through observations, interviews, participatory action research projects and inclusion in local informant groups, the REMIQS research team will review and refine the research findings with students and other local stakeholders, and get their recommendations on the best way to communicate the information to various audiences.

REMIQS researchers will also work with the Stakeholder Committee and Advisors to help interpret data and determine the best channels, platforms and messages to accelerate the adoption of best practices elsewhere. The research team is committed to sharing research findings in ways that will be meaningful and actionable for policymakers, school and system leaders and for impacted families.

“Every student in our educational system deserves to be successful in life regardless of their zip code or background. We must understand what students need and meet them where they are in order to differentiate, individualize and personalize learning experiences,” said Uly Navarrete, VP Strategic Partnerships, Beable. “There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to accelerating learning and preparing students for graduation, college and career."

Thus far, in addition to San Luis, Springfield International Charter School, in Springfield, Massachusetts has been identified and has agreed to participate. REMIQS project leaders are also engaging additional “bright spot” schools in Kentucky, Virginia and Texas and expect to announce those schools in the coming months.

KnowledgeWorks is also involved with a variety of other innovative projects in Arizona, including working with the Center for the Future of Arizona and the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at Arizona State University to build and scale a student-centered learning approach for four Arizona school districts, and supporting a youth storytelling project with the Storytelling Institute at South Mountain Community College and San Luis High School.

About KnowledgeWorks and REMIQS
KnowledgeWorks is a national nonprofit organization advancing a future of learning that ensures each student graduates ready for what’s next. For 20 years, we’ve been partnering with states, communities and leaders across the country to imagine, build and sustain vibrant learning communities. Through evidence-based practices and a commitment to equitable outcomes, we’re creating the future of learning, together:

REMIQS is a KnowledgeWorks project. Funding for this project has been provided by the Barr Foundation, Carnegie Corporation of New York, Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Philanthropies, the Nellie Mae Education Foundation and Oak Foundation.